Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Has the Arab League fallen into the hands of the Gulf? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Earlier this week, an official Iraqi source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, listed six reasons explaining why the Nouri al-Maliki government is siding with Bashar al-Assad. One of these six reasons was the Iraqi leadership’s fear that the Arab League has fallen into the hands of the Gulf States! In the article, this high-level Iraqi source said that: “due to Egypt’s absence from the Arab League decision-making process – on account of Egypt being preoccupied with its own internal affairs at this current time – Baghdad believes that the mandate’ has fallen into the hands of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which is directing affairs as it sees fit”!

However what is even more interesting than this is what Dr. Naseer al-Ani, head of the Presidential Council of the Republic of Iraq, said at the “Gulf and the Globe” forum, organized by the Institute of Diplomatic Studies, affiliated to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, and the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh. According to what was published a few days ago, Dr. al-Ani called upon the GCC to play a greater role in promoting security and stability in his country, especially in light of the imminent withdrawal of U.S. forces, in order to prevent any external interference and to support the Iraqi army. He also hinted towards the unsolicited Iranian role in Iraq by saying: “there are interventions in Iraq which everyone is aware of”. Al-Ani also revealed the state of fear with regards to the unreadiness of the Iraqi armed forces [to deal with the security challenges following the US withdrawal], although the Iraqi security authorities have begun their final preparations for this. This [unreadiness] can be seen in the inability of the current Iraqi military force to protect the country’s airspace. Al-Ani stressed that although military deals and contracts that were signed earlier are expected to be applied in the coming months, Iraq would not be able to keep pace with its neighbors such as Iran and Turkey!

How can we explain this Iraqi contradiction? The right question is; who should we believe in Iraq? Those who say that [Gulf-Iraqi relations] run deep and we are their brothers, or those who stand with Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist regime on the grounds that Nouri al-Maliki, for example, lived in Syria for 16 years? If al-Maliki himself called on the United Nations [UN] to intervene against Bashar al-Assad, and form a commission of inquiry into his regime following the famous bombings in Baghdad nearly two years ago, how can al-Maliki – or his government – begrudge the Syrian people calling on the UN Security Council to protect them from the suppression they are facing at the hands of the al-Assad regime and the Shabiha [militia], particularly as more than 4,000 Syrians have now been killed by the al-Assad regime? Is there any explanation for the position of the al-Maliki’s government, other than abhorrent sectarianism and the implementation of Iran’s agenda? This is even worse when one considers that al-Maliki himself attacked the Gulf States because of their stance on Bahrain, and the same applies to the Sadrists who organized demonstrations in Iraq against the Gulf and Bahrain, and amazingly some even carried the Bahraini flag in Iraq on the day of Ashoura!

Indeed, Iraq’s predicament is not because of its neighboring countries, and not because the Arab League has fallen into the hands of the GCC, as they say, because in the end, the people of the Gulf are Arabs as well. Iraq’s real predicament stems from the sectarian regime that is governing it and which is implementing Iran’s agendas, highlighted recently in Iraq’s stance towards the Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad, even though the current Iraqi regime brazenly attacks its domestic opponents on the grounds that they are Baathists!

This is the truth no matter how some in Iraq try to trick the Iraqi people, or us.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

More Posts